DCNR Riparian Buffers. In 2016, ACCD received funding through the Department of Conservation and Environmental Resources (DCNR) to plant Riparian Forest Buffers in five watershed in Allegheny County. Two acres will be planted in each watershed with 400 trees per watershed. That’s 2,000 new trees to be planted along streams. These trees will help filter polluted runoff, improve air quality, help minimize flooding, cool stream flow and reduce energy costs.

Creating the Allegheny Watershed Alliance MiniGrant Program |
ACCD has received funding from the Department of Conservation and Environmental Resources (DCNR) Riparian Forest Buffer Grant Program to implement Multifunctional Riparian Forest Buffer projects with five active watershed groups in Allegheny County, including the Montour Run Watershed Association, Streets Run Watershed Association, Turtle Creek Watershed Association, Plum Creek Watershed Association, and Peters Creek Watershed Association. These projects will help to enact DCNR’s stated goal of planting 95,000 acres of trees in the Commonwealth by 2025 and enable watershed groups in Allegheny County to plant over 2,000 trees on 10 acres of land. These projects will also support the collaboration of watershed groups and enable them to complete their watershed plans, while also providing opportunities for public engagement and education on the importance of riparian buffers, and creating habitat for birds and wildlife in urban watersheds.

Turtle Creek Watershed
The Turtle Creek Watershed has encountered problems such as abandoned mine drainage, urbanization, stormwater runoff, eroding stream banks, and excess sediment., and severe flooding. Funding from this grant program allowed the Turtle Creek Watershed Group to organize a riparian forest buffer planting at Valley Park, in Monroeville. The Spring of 2017 year, coordinators and volunteers planted approximately 215 native trees across 1 acre of land, including American sycamore, white spruce, yellow birch, and tulip poplar.

Peters Creek Watershed

The Peters Creek Watershed Association has identified multiple areas with problems such as invasive species takeover, erosion, and rip-rap. Further degradation of Peters Creek has resulted from a salt spill, coal mining, and ATV activity. The planting of riparian zones will allow the communities surrounding Peters Creek to reestablish the degraded riparian zones and restore the functionality of the waterway. In fall of 2017, over 400 trees were planting on 2 acres along Catfish Run in South Park.

Plum Creek Watershed

The Plum creek Watershed Committee, consisting of representatives from Plum, Oakmont, Penn Hills, Verona and Murraysville communities, seek to improve poor conditions of the watershed resulting from sedimentation, stream bank erosion, riparian buffer alterations, and stormwater management. With this funding, the watershed group will maintain buffer areas around floodplains and plant new riparian zones on priority sites within the watershed. A planting is being schedule for Spring 2018 in this watershed.

Montour Run Watershed

ACCD is already evaluating habitat, water quality, and channel conditions of Montour Run with the help of a Growing Greener grant awarded in 2015. Further funding will allow the ACCD to take the necessary steps towards the final product of a prioritized list of achievable projects for in order to reduce nutrient and sediment loads and improving the quality of the Montour Run Watershed, such as Riparian Forest Buffer Plantings. We have plans to work with Allegheny Land Trust to improve buffers on their property this coming Spring as well.

Streets Run Watershed

The Streets Run Watershed suffers from uncontrolled stormwater and sanitary issues, flooding, and severe channel alterations in order to accommodate its expanding urban infrastructure. Funding from the DCNR grant will support allow the watershed group for Streets Run to be revitalized, and stimulate waterway repair and community engagement. We are currently searching for planting locations in the Streets Run Watershed, so if you know of a suitable area, let us know!